Large crowds swarmed to local beaches on Tuesday to take advantage of the sunny weather on the last day of the Easter and Ching Ming break, bringing much-needed business to restaurants and shops that have been struggling to survive amid extended closures due to Covid-19.
The manager of a stall selling beach products in an arcade in Repulse Bay said they had done as much business over the long weekend as they had for the whole of last month.
"It's been very, very busy for the last few days," said the manager, surnamed Sung.
She said many of the patrons were so happy to be back, they didn’t bother to hunt for bargains.
"They don't care about the prices actually, they just want to grab what they need before heading down to spend some time at the beach."
Sung said she hopes the momentum will continue.
"I hope the government won't close the beach again, and I hope everyone behaves."
Covid precautions have left beaches off limits since December, after they were closed for much of last year.
Fifteen beaches were allowed to reopen on Friday as the coronavirus situation stabilised.
One man brought his two young children to the Repulse Bay beach, after taking them to Disneyland and for walks in the countryside during the holidays.
"Because of the Covid-19, my boy and my daughter had to go to school by Zoom, so actually not many outdoor activities," he said.
His six-year-old son was ecstatic at having the chance to dig around in the sand after many months away.
"We can go to the beach and play the sand," he exclaimed.
Another family told RTHK they had already gone to the beach twice since Friday.
"Our home is very close to here, and the children love playing with the water and it's warm," said the mother, surnamed Fung.
But they took some precautions, setting up a tent away from the crowds, and the water.
She said she would make sure her two-year-old son keeps his mask on once they get closer to the crowds.
Hongkongers have not just been spending their time in the great outdoors, restaurants say they’ve done brisk business during the break.
Simon Wong, president of the Federation of Restaurants, estimates that local restaurants had around 80 to 90 percent of their usual business over the Easter weekend.
Legco’s tourism sector representative, Yiu Si-wing, meanwhile, said hotel occupancy rates were also way up during the break, with occupancy rates for some surging to 90 percent.
Crowds flock to beaches to wrap up Easter break
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